RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Attorney General Jason Miyares’ office has until Friday afternoon to respond to a motion seeking to dismiss the state’s challenge to a federal lawsuit trying to force another round of Virginia House elections this November.
Attorney Paul Goldman, Virginia’s former Democratic Party chairman, filed a motion Wednesday to dismiss the state’s appeal to a lawsuit he filed in the Eastern District of Virginia in June.
The lawsuit argues the results of last fall’s elections are invalid because they were held under legislative districts that were not updated with new census data to reflect the population shifts over the last decade.
Goldman wants the court to set one-year terms for all 100 state delegates and force Virginia to hold another round of elections under the redrawn districts. If the court sides with Goldman, the battle for control of the House of Delegates would be on the ballot three years in a row.
The lawsuit has been at a standstill since then-Attorney General Mark Herring asked the court to dismiss the effort on procedural grounds. Herring’s office argued the state’s top officials named in the suit, including the governor, were immune to such lawsuits.
U.S. District Judge David J. Novak ruled the case could move forward against the individual members of the State Board of Elections and Virginia’s Elections Commissioner and go before a three-judge panel. But Herring’s office appealed that decision to the Richmond-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
“Upon creation of the three-judge district court, the Appellants had the right to ask for the three judges to convene to review the ruling, not the 4th Circuit Court,” Goldman wrote in his motion to dismiss.
On Thursday, the federal appeals court requested a response to Goldman’s motion from the state by 3 p.m. Friday. Miyares’ office is now handling the case on behalf of the state.
A spokesperson for Miyares’ office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is set to hear oral arguments in the case on March 8. If the court agrees to dismiss the case, Goldman could appeal the decision. If the attorney general’s office’s appeal is denied, the three-judge panel, which includes Novak, will hear Goldman’s lawsuit.
This story is developing. Check back for updates.